Kawasaki has ushered in a new era for its WorldSBK program, as the Japanese brand continues to be the team to beat.
For 2019, the Provec Racing run operation has cut ties with Tom Sykes and brought Leon Haslam back to the world stage to partner Jonathan Rea.
After four years of tension spilling over in the garage between two world champions, there is a hope that Haslam – the reigning British Superbike champion – can finally bring harmony between both sides of the garage.
“When the music stops you need to grab a seat,” is a kids game, but in the grown-up business of the paddock, it is still just as relevant as if you were at a birthday party.
Unfortunately for Eugene Laverty, he’s been left as one of the last riders chasing a seat for 2019, and with Marco Melandri, Loris Baz, Jordi Torres, and Xavi Fores all also running in circles, the clock is ticking until the music stops for good.
Having thought that he’d be sticking with Shaun Muir Racing for next year, as the team switches to BMW machinery, the Irishman now finds himself on the outside looking in. From feeling secure that he would have a good ride for 2019, he suddenly finds himself staring at limited opportunities.
WorldSBK’s South American adventure saw the history books once again rewritten by Jonathan Rea with the Northern Irishman claiming a tenth consecutive victory.
The world champion claimed a comfortable win on Saturday, the series first ever race in Argentina, but after weekend of cleaning a dirty and dusty track it was the temperature that caused problems on Sunday.
With over 110F temperatures on the asphalt, it was as slick a surface as many riders could remember with overnight rain also washing away any rubber that had been put down on the surface. It was easy to make a mistake, and coming from the third row of the grid, Rea certainly made his fair share in the early laps.
Once on clear track however, he was imperious, and comfortably the fastest man on track. He used this advantage to charge down Xavi Fores, and claim a historic double that broke the long-standing record of Colin Edwards (2002) and Neil Hodgson (2003) for most consecutive victories in WorldSBK.
The Circuit San Juan Villicum surprised everyone in the WorldSBK paddock this past weekend. With the Andes Mountain range offering one of the most picturesque backgrounds in all of racing, this brand new facility has instantly offered a unique circuit to the championship.
The 2.6-mile circuit has received positive feedback from the riders and teams, and Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty offered us his perspective of the track.
The final European round of the WorldSBK season sees Magny-Cours play host to Jonathan Rea’s first attempt to make history by winning a fourth consecutive championship.
The Northern Irishman is on the cusp of history, and he clinched the title here 12 months ago.
Jonathan Rea may have had a third consecutive double at the Portuguese round of WorldSBK, but that’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of action and intrigue as WorldSBK resumed following the summer break.